Catherine on the value of SIS Membership
Catherine McGuire is Head of Reference and Outreach at the Maryland State Law Library in Annapolis.
Why did you join AALL?
In my earlier days working in a law firm library, my library director considered membership in AALL a necessary professional tool. I, a recent college graduate, didn’t yet have the experience to fully appreciate the benefits of membership, but learned swiftly. After moving from a law firm library to a public court library, I continued my membership, having learned how valuable membership really is.
Why do you stay a member?
I stay a member for probably the same reasons most would give – the professional development opportunities, the networking and connection, the access to materials on AALLnet.org, and the feeling of being part of a larger active group. More specifically, I love SIS membership and activities. So much of what I do is aided and augmented by SIS involvement, and the people I meet through SIS activities are those I find myself reaching out to, over and over, for input and support on professional challenges.
What one membership benefit is most valuable to you?
Again, SIS membership is where I see the most value. I wouldn’t want to give up any of the benefits, honestly (who would?), but the connections I make through SIS membership is where I lean the most.
What is your favorite memory associated with AALL?
Petting the longhorn this past July! No, really, in addition to all the great conversations I’ve had with colleagues I’ve met through AALL – every one of them a favorite memory – the Annual Meetings I’ve been able to attend (Boston 2004, D.C. 2009 and San Antonio 2014) have been entire collections of fantastic memories.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love going to my kids’ sports practices and games, which probably sounds annoying, but it’s true. Someone’s almost always playing a sport – fall soccer, winter basketball, spring lacrosse – and sport time is also social time for the parents, which I enjoy. I love reading – probably goes without saying – and when I have the energy, I embroider. For about 15 minutes a day, I like to play soccer with the dog. It’s comfortably relaxing.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I have more than usual going at the moment. I have almost finished Crossing the Borders of Time: A True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed (Leslie Maitland), which has been wonderfully real and engaging. When the war stuff gets to me, I take a break with The House of Hades (Rick Riordan, The Heroes of Olympus #4), to keep up on what my kids are reading, and am also re-reading Angle of Repose (Wallace Stegner), for the fourth or fifth time, a lovely, lovely book. I’ve also started The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity (Cynthia Bourgeault), but don’t quite have the mental energy right now so it’s on hold. I’ve recently finished – and highly recommend – both Timebound (Rysa Walker) and Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein). The Timebound sequel will soon be added to my bedside pile…
What’s your favorite travel/vacation destination?
I don’t have a favorite, really. I am fortunate to be able to regularly visit both Maine and the Florida Keys. I find I do similar things in both places – reading, fishing, beach-wandering, anything with family time – while getting a break from whatever Maryland’s weather is doing no matter which direction I go.